Most people see an optometrist for routine eye care. However, some people will also need to see an ophthalmologist, which is a medical doctor that specializes in vision care.
If you're wondering why you might need to see an ophthalmologist, here are three kinds of ophthalmology services these eye specialists provide.
1. Diagnosis and Treatment of Eye Disease
When you have vision problems, the first person you go to is your optometrist. While an optometrist can diagnose and treat common eye problems, such as refractive errors, they do not usually deal with more complicated eye problems. If your optometrist notices that you have symptoms of an eye disease that they can't diagnose or treat, they will refer you to an ophthalmologist.
Some of the most common eye diseases that an ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats include:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Eye cancer
- Macular degeneration
- Retinal detachment
Treatment for these types of eye conditions vary. For some of these eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, there is no cure. However, an ophthalmologist can prescribe medications along with a combination of certain vitamins and minerals that can slow the progression of this disease.
2. Medical Eye Surgery
Some types of eye disease, such as cataracts, require surgery. This is another service that an ophthalmologist provides.
Besides cataract surgery, here are some other medical eye surgeries an ophthalmologist provides:
- Glaucoma surgery
- Reconstructive surgery to repair abnormalities of the eye
- Removal of cysts, tumors, or foreign objects in the eye
- Repair of detached retinas
- Corneal transplants
The above surgeries are performed to improve the health of the eye or to prevent vision loss.
3. Cosmetic Eye Surgery
Ophthalmologist also perform cosmetic eye surgeries. While these types of eye surgeries can improve vision, they are not usually medically necessary. One example of a cosmetic eye surgery is blepharoplasty, which is sometimes referred to as an eye lift.
During this procedure, an ophthalmologist performs surgery on the eyelids. The purpose of this cosmetic eye procedure is to repair droopy or baggy eyelids, thereby improving the general appearance of the eye.
The various types of blepharoplasty procedures include:
- Upper Blepharoplasty. Removal of fat and muscle in the upper eyelid.
- Lower Blepharoplasty. Removal of fat pads from the lower eyelid.
- Ptosis. Tightening of upper eyelid muscles.
Another example of cosmetic eye surgery is LASIK. People usually get this type of laser eye surgery because they no longer want to wear glasses.
For more information about ophthalmology services, contact a local practice.